“This last thing, however, is absolutely the most unacceptable, that an official, who should be the most independent of them all – the President of the Court of Audit – he should be more independent than the President of the country, the Prime Minister and the President of the Constitutional Court, so if this will actually be confirmed, meaning, him communicating with certain political options, is an additional disaster. This is a new affair that will bring new, unprecedented dimensions to the issue of credibility and independence of the President of the Court of Audit,” an esteemed lawyer who wishes to remain anonymous commented on the alleged release of the confidential content of the Court of Audit’s report by its President Tomaž Vesel to the President of the DeSUS party Karl Erjavec.
At Monday’s meeting of the Committee on the Interior, the MP Robert Polnar revealed that Karl Erjavec told the DeSUS MPs when he requested that the party leave the coalition, that the whole idea is based on the filing of the vote of no confidence and that he would be the next Prime Minister. According to Polnar, Erjavec said that he was building up his expectations, based on one thing alone. And this one thing is the Court of Audit’s report on the regulation and efficiency of the procurement of medical and protective equipment, which he supported with three theses. “It seemed strange to me how he got to know what was written in the audit report, which was still not made public.” With this, the MP Polnar revealed the abuse of the position of the President of the Court of Audit Tomaž Vesel and his accomplice Erjavec.
We asked a long-time legal expert to comment on the matter, who wishes to remain anonymous. He said the following: “There are a number of open dilemmas here. From the question of when the term in office of the President of the Court of Auditors ends, as this probably happened three months after he took on his role at FIFA, to what the National Assembly will do now that it has to find out what happened.” The question of the validity of all audit reports from the past couple of years thus also arises, because if someone who is not the President of the Court of Audit, or should not be the President is in the position of power, then he should not sign these documents. “This last thing, however, is absolutely the most unacceptable, that an official, who should be the most independent of them all – the President of the Court of Audit – he should be more independent than the President of the country, the Prime Minister and the President of the Constitutional Court.”
“It is possible, however, and this might actually be confirmed – him communicating with certain policy options, this is an additional disaster. This is a new affair that will bring new, unprecedented dimensions to the issue of credibility and independence of the President of the Court of Audit.” The financial affair with FIFA is one thing, and the political affair is a whole new matter. In the first case, it is not important how much someone earned, as the media focused on the “typical Slovenian jealousy,” what the real problem is, is the incompatibility of the two roles, as one cannot be in both of Vesel’s roles at the same time. This incompatibility should not have even happened, and it definitely should not have lasted this long. Why it took four years for this to even become an issue, however, we do not know yet. The person who is performing two functions at once should have probably informed the authorities about their status.
The Court of Audit must be the purest, the most brilliant, and the most virginal of all the institutions
“I believe that what Polnar revealed should not have happened. Communication between the President of the Court of Audit and the representatives of the political parties, especially for political purposes, should be absolutely inadmissible. If two people meet for coffee and one happens to be in politics, and the other happens to be from the Court of Audit, that is one thing. However, if the reports from the Court of Audit are suddenly involved, for political purposes of certain political strategies, which of course has to be checked and confirmed, then that is a scandal that is just as big, if not even bigger than the first one. This should not be happening.” In such a case, however, this might be an abuse of the state institution for political purposes of some political parties. It is rather strange that certain political parties could get the independent national institution involved in their matters. The Constitutional Court must be the purest, most brilliant and most virginal of all the institutions.
“It is as if someone used the Constitutional Court for their own purposes, or the state prosecutor’s office for their own purposes, for example. And these are things that are worrying. For me, this matter is unheard of, if it is true,” our source also explained. And then there are also other things, such as the fact that the report should not be revealed to anyone, as it is confidential under the law, and so are its contents and so on. Vesel’s press conference was already questionable on its own. Why would anyone hold a press conference on something that is confidential? Of course, the purpose of Vesel’s press conference was completely different; it was intended for promotion. If the content is confidential, then nothing can really be said about it anyway. “In a mature democratic society, the President of the Court of Audit, or the supreme auditor, would not be the auditor of a football organisation at the same time. It is as if our President of the Constitutional Court would also be employed part-time at the Constitutional Court of Montenegro. Or if the President Borut Pahor would also advise an Arab chess federation.” The fact that people who should a priori be independent, untouchable, and who should be satisfied with their position, engage in afternoon activities, casts a shadow on our country.
If someone earns ten times more abroad than he does at home, then they probably do not care all that much about their work at home
It is also important to note that if someone earns ten times more with their afternoon activity, then they are probably ten times more engaged there than they are at home. “You probably do not care all that much about your work at home then.” The earnings outside of Slovenia are not problematic in themselves, of course, but what is problematic, is whether someone has reported all the taxes and so on. The problem is that this is damaging to the role, to its independence, and to the country’s reputation, even if the work in itself does not directly damage the state budget. However, the Incompatibility of Holding Public Office with Profitable Activity Act needs to be taken into account, and with it, the fact that certain functions do cannot be performed at the same time. “The Court of Audit is an independent branch, which is special in itself – it is neither legislative, not executive, nor judicial, and has nothing to do with the judiciary. This is a sort of audit body, and it has an independent status. And given that it must be especially precise look for the faults of others, it must also be all the more immaculate. Someone who forgot to report a million or two cannot harass others for five thousand euros in an audit report.” However, if the institution then also connects with certain political interests at a concrete moment and for a concrete purpose, then the matter has even more weight.